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Cell. 2003 Oct 31;115(3):255-66.

The receptors for mammalian sweet and umami taste.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Departments of Biology and Neurosciences, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Sweet and umami (the taste of monosodium glutamate) are the main attractive taste modalities in humans. T1Rs are candidate mammalian taste receptors that combine to assemble two heteromeric G-protein-coupled receptor complexes: T1R1+3, an umami sensor, and T1R2+3, a sweet receptor. We now report the behavioral and physiological characterization of T1R1, T1R2, and T1R3 knockout mice. We demonstrate that sweet and umami taste are strictly dependent on T1R-receptors, and show that selective elimination of T1R-subunits differentially abolishes detection and perception of these two taste modalities. To examine the basis of sweet tastant recognition and coding, we engineered animals expressing either the human T1R2-receptor (hT1R2), or a modified opioid-receptor (RASSL) in sweet cells. Expression of hT1R2 in mice generates animals with humanized sweet taste preferences, while expression of RASSL drives strong attraction to a synthetic opiate, demonstrating that sweet cells trigger dedicated behavioral outputs, but their tastant selectivity is determined by the nature of the receptors.

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